The Authors of Pain are earning their stripes in NXT. Akam and Rezar are the current NXT tag team champions, and their work to this point has been more than impressive. They’re young, they’re hungry, and they quite simply want it more than anyone else right now.
But it could be that WWE fans don’t realize just how big The AOP is going to be.
They’ve been compared to The Road Warriors, and with good reason. Much like Hawk and Animal, The AOP are big, they’re tough, and they’re extremely violent in the ring. They’re not graceful, but they are effective as they crush everything in their path.
They’re the kind of guys a fan would want as backup in a fight. Akam and Rezar are a force of nature that cannot be contained, and they destroy everyone put in front of them. But that’s not where the LOD comparisons end.
Paul Ellering is the third man on the team, and he brings instant credibility to The AOP. He was the one that kept Animal and Hawk focused during their heyday; he was their manager in every sense of the word. The Legion of Doom would not have been the same without Precious Paul.
He directed the chaos, and led The Road Warriors to the very top.
But then there’s the part that most fans aren’t discussing right now; The AOP’s domination. Is it possible that Rezar and Akam will eventually get to the main roster and take over? Do they actually have the potential to draw that kind of money and attention?
It’s a different era than what The Road Warriors came up in of course. Tag team wrestling was once big business in the industry, and it was not unheard of to see two teams battle it out in the main event of a packed house.
Hawk and Animal were not the first big money tag team to come along, but they were undoubtedly the most successful. They became champions in every company they worked for, and that was not an indictment on their ability in the ring; it had everything to do with their ability to draw.
Fans came out in droves to see The Road Warriors live. They became an attraction in the industry, much like Andre the Giant. When Hawk and Animal were booked, fans always got their money’s worth. Their mystique put them heads and shoulders above everyone else, while their intensity put them on a level all their own.
But can a tag team in today’s WWE attain that level of popularity, that level of fame, that The Road Warriors enjoyed?
Vince McMahon’s company is often plagued by 50/50 booking. More often than not, fans notice the trend of guys winning one week, losing the next week, then winning the week after that. While no one should really be booked as unstoppable all the time, it does beg the question of whether or not the company would be willing to elevate Akam and Rezar to that point.
It’s already happened to a large extent with Brock Lesnar.
The Beast Incarnate has had very few moments of looking human during his WWE career and when that does happen, he rebounds almost immediately. He’s a machine, an immense force that cannot be brought down or even slowed down. The worst thing a Superstar can do is take Brock Lesnar off his feet, because he’s eventually going to get back up.
When that happens, it’s time for “Brock smash.”
Some fans have had enough with his specific brand of dominance, and would love to see him in a competitive feud with someone other than a veteran. But very few New Era stars have been able to give Lesnar a run for his money. Despite what any of those stars do, Lesnar does indeed get back up.
Then the match is over.
So are fans willing to accept that from a tag team? If Lesnar walks away from WWE in 2018, should The Authors of Pain come in and pick up where he left off? Tag team wrestling is certainly not dead in WWE now, but it’s not the business it was back during Hawk and Animal’s time.
Obviously much of The AOP’s eventual fate lies in the hands of the fans.
If the WWE faithful want to see them, then the company will respond. If Akam and Rezar become red hot despite whether they’re heel or babyface, then WWE will roll with them. The company follows the money and when Superstars prove they can draw, the sky is the limit for them.
The booking has to be there of course, and that’s up to WWE. The company must position The AOP to succeed, and much of that will likely depend on if the two are mentally ready for the ride to come. When that time comes, fans could very well see a new era of dominance begin.
The Authors of Pain have yet to write their masterwork, and the audience is waiting.